I am a missionary “with” Spirit, not because I possess the Spirit, but because the Spirit possesses me. I am of the Spirit, I belong to Him. And I let myself be possessed, without fear, because the Spirit can do nothing bad to me. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit spiritualizes me, sanctifies me and works in me and through me a constant renewal.
I have no other attitude but to let myself be led by the Spirit, being docile to his inspirations and motions. Like Mary did, “Let it be”; Like Jesus who, “with the power of the Spirit,” is on his way to Galilee to begin the proclamation
Docility to the Spirit leads me to listen attentively and receive his teaching with great openness of heart. I consider myself to be a disciple of the Spirit, attentive to his voice, a voice made an inner whisper in the silence, a cry in the poor, a supplication in those in need of Love, Bread and Word.
With this attitude of listening, I feel enthusiastic and hopeful when I read the words of the Aparecida document: “We need to meet people, families, communities … We cannot rest in passive waiting in our temples” (DA 548). I fully attune to Pope Francis when he asks us: “Let us go forth, let us go out and offer the life in Christ to all “ (EG 49).
Urged by this desire for missionary renewal, I promoted in 2006 a “popular mission” throughout the diocese, with the slogan: “Church in mission, so that they may have life in Him”, which brought about 2,000 Basic Ecclesial Communities. In February of 2012 I convened the first Diocesan Synod, whose motto was: “Lord, teach us your ways”. I perceived internally that the time had come for the Church of San Pedro Sula to enter into a process of prayer, discernment, dialogue and opening up horizons that would motivate and orientate us in a decidedly missionary pastoral. Since then, we recognise ourselves with more clarity and hope as a synodal Church, a Church on the way, going forth.
I often ask myself, “Where does the Spirit want to take me?” In order to know the answer, I contemplate Jesus led by the Spirit to the desert and to the mountain to pray to the Father, and to the crowds of the poor, the sick and the excluded, before whom he is moved with affection and in an effective manner too. This contemplation reaffirms me in a filial and apostolic prayer. In the filial relationship with God the Father I hear the beating of his heart and his feelings towards his children, especially the poorest and I pray for the faithful that he has entrusted to me. I present to him my activities and my concerns.
At the same time, the Spirit grants me what Pope Francis calls “the spiritual taste of being people” (EG 268). I feel happy in the midst of the people, the people of God, poor and humble. I enjoy celebrating the Eucharist on the feasts of their patron saint, sharing their food, listening to their worries, accompanying them in difficult times … I want to be like Jesus, close to people, without distances; simple, without protocols; loving and being loved, because “life is perfected and matured as it is given to others so that they may have life. That is ultimately the mission“ (DA 360).
+ Angel Garachana Pérez, CMF
Bishop of San Pedro Sula